Sunday, April 30, 2006

Don't ask me, I'm just a girl

I've had my fair share of trolls on my blog in the last month. IH8FEMINAZIS and Dykehater were very special types of misogynists, and I guess I was glad that they were posting on my blog, rather than out harrassing a woman in some forum where their comments couldn't be deleted.

But the straight sexism of regular commenters has started to get to me. Yes there are posters who call me fat and ugly, as the only possible response to a woman who disagree with them. But they're more straight up than the patronising men. The men who think that I don't know what I'm talking about, and just need to be told.

I've had a couple of examples. One was on the 10 Wise Ways thread. A guy called Pete wasn't content to argue with what I was saying, he had to make it about me. Not just about me, but about how he knew better than me. He talked about knowing my intentions, my meanings, and whether or not I understood what he said. He told me I had taken things personally. He told me I was a bad feminist. He asked me if I was for real (a comment I've got a few times, from male names, and I haven't been blogging that long, I know my ideas aren't exactly mainstream, but do people ask Trevor Loudon if he's for real?) I have no doubt that he wasn't trying to be sexist. He probably sees himself as an anti-sexist kind of a guy. But I don't think he would have been this arrogant, this dismissal, and this personal, if he was arguing against a man, on a non-feminist issue.

The other example is a guy called Rick. He considers me a special project. From his blog:

Oh good grief. What's happened to the Capitalism Bad blog? Maia is one of my special turn-left-right projects but how can I go on if she's shut off commenting to all but her inner circle?

Goddamnit. My comment was...
I'm sick of the patronising bullshit. I'm sick of having to constantly fight to create a space that women might feel safe commenting in. I'm sick of constantly weighing up 'is this offensive enough'.

Is it too much to ask that men treat women as human beings?


  1. Oh Maia, I am so sorry that you have to deal with these assholes. Ron Sullivan made a great comment at Twisty's that highlighted how liberal men like to tell women then goes from a to z. One of them was how they like to tell us how to be better feminists, as if they knew how hard it was to grow up female.

  2. Yup.. everywhere a feminist goes, she gets bossed around... It puts me in mind of a story my grandmother used to tell about being in a Socialist Workers group, who were all about empowering workers, etc etc, but expected their women members to run about making tea and scones and washing the dishes. The men were always bossing the women around and telling them how an ideal woman should be (sort of a mixture of Nadezhda Krupskaya and Doris Day, if you really want to know). Eventually the women went "Fuck it" and left to start a feminist group.

    And then there are the Ayn Rand fanciers... someone ought to tell these guys that the presence of Atlas Shrugged in their bookshelves can be a deal breaker for a lot of women.

  3. One of the wicked pleasures of Twistys blog is that when men come in the door swinging their dick they usually get their head handed to them.
    One of the great things about the internets is that when men intrude, women can tell them to go away. There is nowhere else this happens. Really, we don't make scenes in bars when men harrass us. Holla back NY is the first time I can recall that women could do anything to expose street harassment.
    Anyway, all I'm saying is that when men come on feminist blogs they act the same way they always act, everywhere. The internets is about the only place where they pay a price for it. As unwelcome as the behavior is, on the interweb you don't have to put up with it. I love that. It is a first in the history of the patriarchy.
    I'm not sure what to say to you about the personal attacks. No matter how professional you are they can wear on you. If you have been taught all your life to listen and be polite, it is difficult to see past the attack to the weakness it reveals.
    Flame wars may serve a useful antipatriarchial purpose in the long run.
    Thank you for your efforts and insights. Blog on.

  4. Blog on Maia.

    Don't let the morons get you down. There is plenty of decent debate to be had out there, it's just that the most hysterical and vacant are quite often also the loudest and most raucous...

  5. "If you have been taught all your life to listen and be polite, it is difficult to see past the attack to the weakness it reveals."

    Yup. It's really hard, when we've been trained to be sweet and polite and nurturing, to tell someone to back off and shut up. And then you get accused of "silencing dissent" and "not listening to men's viewpoints." Uh, news flash, women's dissent has been silenced by the patriarchy since, well, forever, and we get to listen to men's viewpoints 24/7. You'd think that we might just possibly be allowed to express our feminist opinions in *our own blogs* without getting second-guessed and "corrected" by know-it-alls, but there are some who always want to jump in and shout us down. Sigh!

  6. Not that the comment wasn't patronising - but it was nothing to do with you being a women. Re-read what it says and you will see it is all to do with a difference in political spectrum.

    You weaken your argument through illogic.

  7. "You weaken your argument through illogic."

    Oh look! Another one, telling a feminist how to argue! Because everyone knows that feminists are illogical and irrational, and the fact that that guy felt entitled to patronise Maia had nothing at all to do with her being a woman. Just as well there are helpful folks like this one, willing to set a girl straight. Yeah, right.

    I'd like to call your attention to this hilarious post:


    "One thing an old broad like me has seen many many many times already is some huffulacious oh-so-sincere dude walking in to a group of women almost at random and telling them

    a/ what they should be doing in their free time;
    b/ how to do it right;
    c/ how to be feminists;
    d/ why he has their best interests at heart, really;
    e/ why he’s qualified to give them orders;
    f/ that they’re intolerant, which is self-evidently a Bad Thing;
    g/ that they’re preaching to the choir (and the biggest surprise is that they’re preaching);
    h/ that some of his best fucks are women;
    i/ how to be better feminists;
    j/ that they’re not serious enough;
    k/ that his wife thinks he’s the greatest;
    l/ what God thinks;
    m/ why whatever he’s doing this month is more important then feminism;
    n/ that feminism is boo-zhwah, and that’s self-evidently a Bad Thing;
    o/ that they’re shrill — wow, I almost forgot shrill;
    p/ that they can’t pee standing up;
    q/ that they should be ashamed of themselves;
    r/ that they just don’t welcome open and vigorous debate;
    s/ that he needs a beer (this is followed by an expectant silence);
    t/ that they’re taking everything he said wrong;
    u/ that they’re unreasonable;
    v/ that they’re ~touchy~;
    w/ that they’ve never said anything about oppression of women in (choose sauce: Iraq, Afghanistan, China, sub-Saharan Africa, the southeastern USA, the ghet-to, Brazil, Antarctica)
    x/ that they should apologize to him because his parents had him circumcised;
    y/ that he Is Too A Feminist (which evidently means something);
    z/ how they should transcend feminism and embrace humanism.

    Pick any two menu items and get the third half-price; pick any three and get the fourth free. With five you get a can of wine. And if you’re the guy in question, you get a free hot cup of Shut the Fuck Up."

  8. Sofiya - exactly I read this comment and thought "wow talk about proving my point."

    Although I think I've actually got a collection of Ayn Rand fanatics who have found my blog. So this one probably isn't a liberal white dude.

  9. When I typed the words I thought they were sympathetic and encouraging. Now that I read them, I can see that they can be read to be patronizing. I'm sorry.
    That was insensitive of me.
    I am a 60 year old woman. I was trying to point out that men usually make accusation when they are unable to refute the argument you are making. Sorry I fumbled it so badly.

  10. Bewilderness - I was agreeing with you. I didn't think you were patronizing at all. I meant this iiq374. You know how some folks feel entitled to talk down to women as if they're children? Like my dad used to sound when he'd critique my social studies essay when I was in the third form? Well, that's how he sounded to me.

  11. What are you pippy with me for?

    That I have designs on turning you into a right-wing capatalist can be expected to amuse you more than offend you!

    And although what I said does characterise me, I did say it on my own blog not yours.

    So what do you say? Can I buy you an 'I Love Ayn Rand' bumper sticker?

  12. "I am the master of this college;
    What I don't know isn't knowledge..."